History of Volvo: Its start-up story and evolution of the top-safety car brand


Posted by: Henry Egan

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The Volvo brand may not have been the reality we see today but for the chance meeting of two friends at the Swedish restaurant Sturehof in August of 1924 and that makes the History of Volvo interesting!

Volvo started making cars in 1927, in response to the fact that they saw no one else making cars safe enough for Swedish roads. For this reason, the company came up with its philosophy to help people enjoy life in a safe environment formed the company's fundamental identity as a safest champion, an identity the Volvo Brand has maintained right to these days.

How much do you know about the famous Swedish car brand? Let's be with Naijauto.com in this journey throughout the History of Volvo!

The Destined Chance Meeting

The Volvo brand may not have been the reality we see today but for the chance meeting of two friends at the Swedish restaurant Sturehof in August of 1924.

The chance meeting between Gustaf Larson and Assar Gabrielsson who were both longing for a plate of freshly-caught crayfish formed the genesis of what will turn out to be the global auto giant we have now.

Check out the full story of the Volvo brand in the following video:

The Story of Volvo Cars

While they met over crayfish at Sturehof, their discussion came to settle on cars. At the time, almost 15,000 were imported to Sweden from the USA every year. Could Sweden not produce its own cars? Gustaf and Assar came to an agreement there and then. The next month, designed work on a Swedish car had already begun. That is how the Volvo was birthed.

The first Volvo car to be built

On a cold morning, precisely April 14th, 1927, the first-ever Volvo car rolled out of the factory in Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast. The car was officially named the OV4, an open-tourer with a four-cylinder engine. The first Volvo was made ready to hit the Swedish roads.


The Volvo OV4 was launched on the 14th of April, 1927

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The first marketed Volvo

On September 1st, 1944, the day that marked Volvo’s international status, the PV444 was presented in Stockholm. It was called “The Little Volvo” and was seen in Sweden as a promise as to post-war prosperity. Within two weeks, 2300 people had placed their orders for the PV444. Although it wasn’t till 1947 that cars’ deliveries began.


Volvo PV444 was Nicknamed "The Little Volvo"

The Volvo Duett was launched in 1953 as two cars in one, useful for both work and leisure. The car was the first in a long row of estates that made Volvo closely related to this type of car, a practical car. Since then, more than 6 million estates have been made by Volvo.


Making its name in America

In August 1955, the first PV444 was unloaded unto a port in Long Beach, California. The beginning of the car export to the USA brought up a lot of skepticism as this was a country that was the symbol of car culture. Apparently, it was like “selling sand to a desert country”.

Within two years, Volvo was able to sell so many cars that it became the second most imported automobile brand in the state of California. By 1974, the United State of America had already become Volvo’s biggest market the world over.

Revoluntary seat belt that saved millions

Volvo has been a life-saving car brand since the inception of the three-point safety belt in 1959. Volvo’s engineer, Nils Bohlin designed the revolutionary seat belt which made its debut in the Volvo PV544 launched in 1959.

Since then, the revolutionary three-point seat belt technology has saved well over one million lives. This was possible as Volvo waived its patent rights so that everyone could benefit from it, no matter what car they drive.

Built race-winning cars

Volvo has also been among the first in building race-winning cars. In April of 1965 at the Safari Rally, Volvo’s PV544 driven by two brothers Joginder and Jaswant finished the race in top position signaling Volvo dominance in designing sport racing cars. The PV544’s victory in the world’s toughest rally was fast to become international news.


The PV544 took victory in the world’s toughest rally in 1965

Rearward-facing child seat up the safety in car

In 1967, Volvo presented its first rearward-facing child seat. The seat was created by turning the front passenger seat around. Volvo went ahead to add padded backrest with straps to ensure the child was very well kept in place.

These rearward-facing child seats were designed to support the neck and spread the force of a frontal impact over a larger area, the back of the seat. Volvo kept up in its reputation for advancement. This was very well confirmed as the United States Government bought 24 Volvo 240 for extensive crash testing. As a result of this, Volvo became the official benchmark used to set safety standards in new cars.


Volvo became the official benchmark used to set safety standards in new cars

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Historical invention of the Lambda sond

In 1976, a new invention, the lambda sond was introduced. The lambda sond is an oxygen-sensing probe that reduces harmful exhaust emission by 90%. It is referred to by the California Air Resources Board as “the most significant breakthrough ever made in the control of vehicle exhaust emissions”.

Just as they did with the rearward-facing life-changing child seats, Volvo waived patent rights. Today, every petrol-engined car possesses one.

Still making waves in spite of changing its owners

The Volvo Car Corporation was sold in 1999, by Volvo Group to Ford Motor Company for 50 billion Swedish kronor. Volvo got to join the Premier Automotive Group of Ford Motor Company, alongside Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Lincoln.

Volvo’s first-ever SUV, was launched in 2002. The SUV became an instant success all over the world and became a big redefine for big SUVs. Within a number of years, the SUV successfully becomes Sweden’s only most important export product.


Volvo's first SUV, the XC90 was launched in 2002

Again, in 2010, Volvo is resold. The Ford Motor Company sold Volvo Car Corporation to the Chinese company, Geely. Immediately, rapid expansion and invasion into the Chinese market were initiated.

This all leads up to 2013 when the first manufacturing unit in China was opened in Chengdu. This is where S 60 L and XC60 are produced. The entirety of Volvo’s story and heritage contributes immensely to what Volvo is today and the future’s possibilities.

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Henry Egan

Henry Egan


Henry Egan a poet, essayist, content writer, blogger and technical writer who is willing to read just that last material to develop the best content possible. Henry feels he is more of a new generation writer with a sassy and swanky style. You can be sure you'll get all the facts in and never get bored with his articles.

He has got a flair for technical reviews on automobile and cars. He studied Mechanical Engineering but his first love remains Literary Art.

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